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Game Day Observations: UMass

Patriot News columnist David Jones described this game as “a beautiful day for a ritual sacrifice.” A more apt phrase has never been written. UMass is bad — one of the worst teams in the FBS — and it was, indeed, a beautiful day in Happy Valley, with temperatures in the low 70s and the ambiance downtown at its perfect late summer peak.

Here are some observations from the stands at UMass:

  • The new scoreboards adboards now include the score and other game details. This was of such crucial importance that it actually got brought up at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting. However, many of the same criticisms still remain; namely, the video part of the board isn’t actually bigger than the old one and the advertisements and corporate sponsor message are totally overwhelming. At its peak, there were TEN different advertisements on the scoreboard adboard at one time, including four for Pepsi alone. Such is the reality of an athletic department in a less-than-ideal financial situation, but it’s clear “The Greatest Show in College Football” has fallen down the corporate rabbit hole, with little hope of return.


  • Gate A was an absolute clusterfuck trying to get into the game. I usually show up about 40 minutes before game time and usually have no problem getting in in 15 minutes or less, with plenty of time to find my seat and watch the band. At this game, for whatever reason, it took 40 minutes to get through the gate. It was the first time I’ve missed kickoff in about nine years, which proved to be quite frustrating. I’m not quite sure what the hold-up was — I’m assuming it was because it seems to take a minimum of three swipes for the machine to actually find your ID — but no one was moving, and it was impossible to figure out where the line began and people just waiting for friends started. Anyway, it was a surprise to find that in my five years of Gate A entrance, UMass had the biggest delay.
  • More on tickets: I still, for the life of me, can’t understand why the student section security guards insist on defacing student tickets. I know many students collect their ticket stubs, and the sharpie totally ruins the appearance, and just creates more backup in the tunnels. I asked one of the guards what the purpose was, and their response was, after stumbling: “So you can’t get back out.” I’m not quite sure what that means — obviously students are allowed to go in and out of the section to buy food or whatever, and Saturday was no different. Nor was my ticket ever checked again on my way in and out, making the unwelcome autograph from the security guard completely useless. It’s a small matter, I guess, but I’m never a fan of things that don’t make sense.


  • The game went just as it should have — anything less than a blowout would have been unacceptable. I’m not quite sure what we can take away from this game, other than UMass is terrible, although it was encouraging to see Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch able to run at will (10.9 and 10.1 YPC, respectively). Also, Cole Chiappialle may have the best name on the team.
  • If Christian Hackenberg was to have an off-game, at least it was against UMass. The small sample size of D.J. Crook proved to be pretty solid, and it’s always great to see backup QBs grab their first touchdowns in the Blue and White.

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 6.36.23 PM

  • The “Joe Out” was way overblown in the national media, so much so that the national media moralizers came out from under their rocks to opine on folks wearing Joe Paterno-like costumes to the game. There wasn’t a huge presence at the game of “Joe Out” participants, but these students with “4EVA409” written on themselves made quite a few appearances on the adboard.


  • The Blue Band came out strong on Band Day with this awesome halftime formation of the Lion “chipmunk” logo. Definitely a nice switch up from the floating LION.
Photo: Annemarie Mountz
  • I could actually hear the music this week, and I noticed two cool additions. The Fresh Prince theme played before the fourth quarter, which everyone seemed to recognize and sing. Also, the Lionettes added a routine to Taylor Swift’s new song “Shake it Off,” which was another crowd favorite. That more than made up for the errant lion “growl” in the middle of Ficken’s second extra point attempt.

See you next week after Northwestern and (hopefully) a 5-0 start by the Nittany Lions!


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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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